PGA golfer Scott Piercy is losing sponsors after posting a homophobic meme involving former 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, Golf.com reports. The Buttigieg meme was one of several controversial memes Piercy posted in the days before he began losing sponsors.
Earlier this week, as TMZ reports, Piercy posted a meme to express his thoughts on former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg withdrawing from the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. The meme, which Piercy later took down but which is still visible on TMZ, makes a crude reference to the fact that Buttigieg is openly gay.
“Peter Pulls Out Early From Behind,” the meme reads.
The meme caught the attention of Piercy’s superiors within the PGA, who issued a statement saying that the golfer demonstrated a “lack of judgment” in making the post.
Piercy, for his part, has apologized.
“Whenever i [sic] post my intent is NEVER to offend. I want to apologize if any of my recents [sic] story posts have been offensive. I will do better!” he said.
For now, his Instagram account seems to be filled with anodyne posts about his career, his children, and his daily life. It does not appear to have any memes or other political posts or humor; whether or not he cleaned those up from his account, or if they were never there in the first place, is unclear.
Apology or no, at least three of Piercy’s sponsors have announced their decision to part ways with the golfer. Golf.com writer Jessica Marksbury suggests that the departure is due not only to the Buttigieg meme, but a meme posted earlier this week that referenced Qanon, a conspiracy theory favored by some elements on the right that posits a “deep state” conspiracy within the government is actively trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency.
Either way, golf equipment manufacturer Titleist and shoe and glove retailer Footjoy are both ending their sponsorship relationships with him, confirming to Golf.com that they have ended their contracts with the California native.
Similarly, lifestyle brand J.Lindeberg said in a statement that there is “no room for discrimination” in their company, and thus have concluded their business relationship with the golfer.
“When we choose our ambassadors, we choose individuals we know will represent us well on and off the golf course. The claims from Scott Piercy were unacceptable and far from our views and beliefs. We have since terminated our contract with Mr. Piercy,” a statement from the company read in part.